Overview National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has teamed up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CIIE.CO (based at IIMA, Ahmedabad) to launch an interesting competitive tech grand challenge. Anybody, anywhere, whether an individual, a business enterprise, an organization or a start-up venture, can participate in the challenge, which is to create and develop a feature that would enable people to make digital payments through the United Payments Interface (UPI) on a mobile feature phone. As you know, such payments are currently easily possible on a smartphone, whereas on a feature phone it tends to be more difficult, not to mention that most people doing so are worried about the possibility of insecure transactions.
Eligibility criteria to participate in the feature phone challenge Ideally, those who are already in the field of digital payments with the relevant expertise would be more likely to come up with the key to facing the challenge. Nevertheless, entries from anyone are welcome. What's more, it is not necessary that you should be a citizen of India. Individuals, companies, etc from all countries can participate in this challenge.
The type of the solution required for the feature phone challenge The solution which you submit for the grand challenge is not just about great design and its potential to be feasible technically and business-wise. The official website states that what they are looking for is a simpler user interface than the current one which, at the same time, provides for easy transactions but with very high-end security features and also an automated dispute resolution. The list of specific requirements are as follows
Prizes and benefits of the feature phone challengeThe winner of the mobile feature phone grand challenge will be awarded a cash prize of US$50,000. There are two additional cash prizes, with a second prize winner receiving US$30,000 and a third prize winner receiving US$20,000.
Furthermore, the top innovations will receive technical support from NCPI to pilot the solution and acceleration support will be provided by CIIE.CO's Bharat Inclusion Initiative.
It should be noted that winners will receive the prizes as per the policies of CIIE.CO and tax deductions will be applicable.
How to participate in the Gates-NCPI feature phone challenge The application process is very simple, through an online process. Submit the online application for the grand challenge here by first filling up the basic details of your name, email ID and contact number and then proceed to the next step. Ensure, though, that you first read the terms and conditions thoroughly before submitting the application.
Important dates Applications for the feature phone challenge were opened on 21st November 2019. The last date to submit the application is 12th January 2020.
There will be a 'Sandbox Introduction event' at NPCI on 11th February 2020. At this event, if you are one of the shortlisted start-ups, you will be given access to NPCI APIs to get an understanding of the technical requirements and start building the solutions you have come up with. Subsequently, between February and March 2020, you will be mentored and given continued support by NPCI's experts, so that you will be able to create the solution in a manner which can be demonstrated. The final showcasing of the solution will be pitched on 14th March 2020, followed by the announcement of the winners and a closing ceremony.
Contact informationThose interested in participating in the feature phone challenge can send their queries of any nature, including those related to the application process, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: https://www.gatesfoundation.org/.
Best of luck!
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